Petitte vs Wakefield
Plate umpire Jim Reynolds called Petitte’s 1st inning 3-1 pitch to #3 batter “Big Papi” Ortiz a ball, though Sterling says it had the plate and was belt high. Hmm, this after Petitte struck out Ellsbury and Pedroia. On review of the video Waldman said it was off the plate by 3″ and sets the boundaries for the strike zone. Next batter Kevin Youkilis — batting in Manny’s former slot — walked, too. Let’s see how tonight goes….
(For the sake of narrative satisfaction I should add that Bay popped out.)
At the very top of the 2nd — with the score at 1-0 courtesy of Damon’s HR off his former-countryman Wakefield — Sterling noted that Petitte’s 2-1 pitch was called a ball in a rather tight zone against Lowrie. (By the way, neither Sterling nor Waldman saw Reynolds call the final strike against A-Rod at the bottom of the 1st.) And now, for the second straight inning, here’s another 2-on, 2-out situation for Pettite, who had shut down the first 2 at-bats in the inning before letting 2 swinging bunts from the bottom of Boston’s line-up get on base and the first – Bailey – score on Ellsbury’s subsequent single. Score: 1-1….
As the Yankees were going ahead 2-1 in the bottom of the 2nd, a quietly enchanting astronaut who had phoned Sterling from the Space Station was that rarest of persopnages, a perfect guest, so engaging, and speaking in thoughts that seemed too natural to be timed to fit between the pitches Sterling had to call, but they did. I dislike having my game interrupted by guests who come on during games, and thankfully Sterling and Waldman welcome few. But this gentleman, who threw out tonight’s first pitch, was a pleasure.
Note: Top of the 4th (3-2 Boston): As Girardi and Petitte confer on the mound, Sterling conjectures that they are discussing Petitte’s strike zone being squeezed by Reynolds. Sure enough, next they invite Reynolds to the mound, where, as Sterling tells it, Girardi is taking care not to get thrown out for arguing balls and strikes, speaking loudly but facing no one in particular. After the confab, Petitte strikes out the batter and speaks to the umpire on his way off the field. Sterling was right on top of this from the 1st.
Note: Top of the 5th (3-2 Boston): Sterling observes that 1st base umpire FIelding Culbreth missed Giambi’s tag-out (of Crisp?), putting-on an extra Boston runner. Subsequently, Bailey wasn’t called for interfering with catcher Molina on the basepath, and Sterling asks if Waldman or Feinsand recalls which umpire called that very out against the Yankees at which park on their recent road trip. Nada. After reviewing a play at 3rd on video between innings, Sterling discovered that A-Rod’s tag beat another runner’s [Lowrie’s?] slide.
So, what would the score be at the end the 5th if accurate calls were being made? Not 6-2 Yanks, even discounting any squeezing of Petitte’s strike zone by Reynolds.
Top of the 6th (6-3 Boston): Here we go again. Molina thought Bruney’s last pitch to Pedroia was a strike, and Girardi comes out to talk to Reynolds again. No reversal. Waldman, mentioning a talk she’d once had with Mussina, speculates that the concern is that Reynolds is not being consistent on his calls on the same pitch. (Mussina had told Waldman that pitchers can get used to a unique strike zone as long as the umpire is consistent.) Bruney walks 3 men in a row. (7-3 Boston)
6 walks by Yankee pitching in 6 innings.
The calling of Yankee pitches is very much an issue in this game, as are at least 2 safe calls, made at 1st and 3rd.